Cornhill Magazine,  10 (1864), 513–48.

Armadale Bk. 1  [1/20]

[W Wilkie Collins]


Novel, Serial


Health, Disease, Sex, Race, Quackery

    When Allan Armadale (née Allan Wrentmore) arrives at the Baths of Wildbad he is unable to respond to the inquiries of a German doctor, and 'Nothing spoke for him now but the shock that had struck him with the death-in-life of Paralysis. The doctor's eye questioned his lower limbs, and Death-in-Life answered, I am here. The doctor's eye, rising attentively by way of his hands and arms, questioned upward and upward to the muscles round his mouth, and Death-in-Life answered, I am coming' (517). After attending to the needs of the dying man, the doctor recounts to another patient, Mr. Neal, how Armadale has lived 'a wild life and a vicious life, by his own confession' in the West Indies, and how shortly 'after his marriage—now some three years since—the first symptoms of an approaching paralytic affection [probably syphilis] began to show themselves, and his medical advisers ordered him away to try the climate of Europe' (519). Lying on his death-bed, Armadale also tells of having suffered from an earlier illness in the West Indies, when his 'life was saved by my old black nurse; and [...] the woman afterwards acknowledged having used the known negro-antidote to a known negro-poison in those parts' (533).


Collins 1866

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